Reviewing Your Estate Plan: Why It Matters and How to Do It

Middle aged couple doing estate planning

Estate planning isn’t a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process that evolves with your life. Whether you’re just starting, or have had an estate plan for decades, regular reviews are crucial to ensure it reflects your current wishes and circumstances. Let’s delve into why it’s essential to review your estate plan and how to do it effectively.

So, why should you review your estate plan? Certain life events should trigger a review to ensure your estate plan is appropriate for your current situation.

Changes in Family Dynamics

Family structures change over time due to marriages, divorces, births, and deaths. Each event can impact your estate planning decisions. For instance, you might want to include new family members, such as grandchildren, or remove ex-spouses.

Financial Changes

Significant changes in your financial situation, like acquiring new assets, selling substantial assets, or experiencing fluctuations in asset values, necessitate a review of your estate plan. These changes can affect asset distribution and whether your plan aligns with your financial goals.

Legal and Tax Updates

Estate, tax, and inheritance laws can change. Keeping your estate plan updated with new legislation and tax rules can provide confidence that your assets are being considered from a holistic perspective.

Changes in Residency

Moving to a different state or country can significantly impact your estate plan due to varying laws and regulations. It’s vital to ensure your plan considers your new residence’s laws.

Personal Changes in Preferences

Over time, your preferences about who should receive your assets or make decisions on your behalf may change. Regular reviews allow you to update your will, trusts, and other documents to reflect your current wishes.

If reviewing your estate plan sounds like a daunting task, take solace in the fact that you don’t have to do it alone.

  • Schedule Regular Reviews: Review your estate plan every three to five years, or when significant life, financial, or legal changes occur. Regular reviews help ensure your plan remains current.
  • Assess Changes in Your Life: List major life events since your last review, such as marriages, births, deaths, or relationship changes. Consider how these might impact your estate planning documents.
  • Evaluate Financial Changes: Take an inventory of your current assets and liabilities. Compare this to your existing estate plan to ensure all assets are accounted for and properly integrated. Ensure the plan still meets your financial and estate planning goals.
  • Review Fiduciary Appointments: Reevaluate your choices for executors, trustees, and powers of attorney. Ensure these individuals are still willing and able to fulfill their roles, considering any changes in their situations or relationships.
  • Consult with Professionals: Estate planning can be complex, and laws frequently change. Work with an estate planning attorney to get guidance tailored to your circumstances and goals. They can help ensure your plan complies with current laws, manages tax obligations, and meets your long-term objectives.
  • Communicate Your Changes: After updating your estate plan, communicate changes to relevant parties, including family members and designated representatives like executors or trustees. Clear communication helps prevent confusion and disputes later.

Your estate plan is a living document that should evolve with your life. Regular reviews ensure your wishes are respected and your legacy roadmap is as you envision. Keeping your estate plan updated might seem daunting, but it’s essential for essential for building confidence for you and your family. The best estate plan reflects your current situation and goals.

Would you like to discuss your estate plan with an advisor? Schedule a conversation.

Get in Touch

In just minutes we can get to know your situation, then connect you with an advisor committed to helping you pursue true wealth.

Contact Us

Stay Connected

Business professional using his tablet to check his financial numbers

401(k) Calculator

Determine how your retirement account compares to what you may need in retirement.

Get Started